International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology

In 2007, a study group devoted to applied ethnomusicology was established within the International Council for Traditional Music. The intention to establish such a study group had been present among some ICTM members for several years. The symposium Ethnomusicology and Ethnochoreology in Education: Issues in Applied Scholarship that took place in September 2006 in Ljubljana, Slovenia (see report by Mojca Kovačič and Urša Šivic in the ICTM’s October 2006 Bulletin) served as a major boost in this direction. ICTM’s 39th world conference in Vienna (July 4-11, 2007) featured both a global double panel The Politics of Applied Ethnomusicology: New Perspectives with six participants, each from a different continent - Samuel Araujo (Brazil), Maureen Loughran (USA), Jennifer Newsome (Australia), Patricia Opondo (South Africa), Svanibor Pettan (Slovenia), and Tan Sooi Beng (Malaysia) - and a “preliminary meeting” aimed at the establishment of the study group. At this meeting on 10 July 2007, which was attended by 44 members, agreement about working definitions of applied ethnomusicology and the mission statement of the proposed study group were reached: 

APPLIED ETHNOMUSICOLOGY is the approach guided by principles of social responsibility, which extends the usual academic goal of broadening and deepening knowledge and understanding toward solving concrete problems and toward working both inside and beyond typical academic contexts.

The ICTM STUDY GROUP ON APPLIED ETHNOMUSICOLOGY advocates the use of ethnomusicological knowledge in influencing social interaction and course of cultural change. It serves as a forum for continuous cooperation through scholarly meetings, projects, publications and correspondence.

According to the ICTM’s rules, elections for three officers took place. Svanibor Pettan (Slovenia) agreed to serve as a Chairperson, Klisala Harrison (Finland/Canada) accepted the position of a Vice Chairperson, and Eric Martin Usner (USA) that of a Secretary/Treasurer. The proposed study group on applied ethnomusicology was approved at the Executive Board’s meeting in Vienna on 12 July 2007. 

The study group’s first meeting, titled Historical and Emerging Approaches to Applied Ethnomusicology, took place July 9-13, 2008 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. This study group meeting included an innovative format of talking circles, reports on which also are found on this webpage. Talking circles, in contexts of the study group, have been conceptualized as discursive meetings of minds around points of intellectual difference and current relevance in applied ethnomusicology studies. These helped to motivate the fast development of the field of applied ethnomusicology at the international level.  

The second meeting of the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology happened in Hanoi, Vietnam from 19-30 July 2010, in conjunction with a meeting of the ICTM study group Music and Minorities. This was the first time in the history of the ICTM that two study groups met at the same time. The overarching themes were ethnomusicological practices of community engagement, dialogue, advocacy and sustainability.  

Also in 2010, ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology members published the first book specifically on the discipline of applied ethnomusicology. Applied Ethnomusicology: Historical and Contemporary Approaches is an anthology that was edited by Klisala Harrison, Elizabeth Mackinlay and Svanibor Pettan and published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The book features peer-reviewed articles on four themes: historical and contemporary understandings of applied ethnomusicology in international perspective, teaching pedagogies and research practices of applied ethnomusicology, building sustainable music cultures, and music’s roles in conflict situations. Authors of the articles, in addition to the editors, are: Ana Hofman, Bernhard Bleibinger, Muriel Swijghuisen Reigersberg, Eric Martin Usner, Katarina Juvančič, Vojko Veršnik, Huib Schippers, Jelena Jovanović, Ursula Hemetek and Margaret Kartomi. More details can be found at The book's Introduction, by Klisala Harrison and Svanibor Pettan, gives some theoretical perspective on applied ethnomusicology and locates at  

In 2011, the study group elected a new executive. Klisala Harrison agreed to serve as Chairperson while Samuel Araújo (Brazil) accepted the position of Vice Chairperson and Britta Sweers (Switzerland) became Secretary/Treasurer.  

2012 brought the study group's exciting third symposium in Larnaca, Cyprus. Membership continued to explore the study group's focus on music and conflict, in the context of this meeting. The symposium program additionally addressed the themes of disability and music, and social activism. Talking circles discussed applied ethnomusicology in relation to institutions. These were highly successful discussions that informed the development of another edited volume (see below).

In 2014, the study group held its fourth symposium on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The meeting's themes were applied ethnomusicology and institutions, music and media, and new work in applied ethnomusicology.

In 2015, Klisala Harrison was re-elected as Chair, whereas Adriana Helbig (USA) agreed to serve as Vice Chair and Pamela Onishi (Singapore), as Secretary.

The fifth symposium took place in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada in autumn 2016. Due to local arrangements demands and a high number of participants, there were consecutive sessions. The symposium themes were music, labour and exchange; research methdologies for the 21st century; and intangible cultural heritage.

2016 saw the publication of a journal issue titled Applied Ethnomusicology in Institutional Policy and Practice. The volume features quality, peer-reviewed articles developed from papers presented at the 2010, 2012 and 2014 symposia of the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology via an open call distributed to all participants. It is freely accessable at A Chinese-language book version of this collection will be published by Central Conservatory of Music Press, Beijing before July 2017. The volume explores the relationship between applied ethnomusicology and various aspects of institutional policy and practice via case studies from Germany, China, the UK, the USA, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the Seychelles and Australia. Questions addressed include: What are the types of institutional policies engaged by applied ethnomusicological work today? What is the relevance of music’s roles in addressing concrete problems, in the academy and ever-more frequently beyond, to different sorts of institutional policies? What are the benefits and problematics of applied ethnomusicological approaches, projects, theories and results in light of certain policies? The article authors are Sally Treloyn, Emily Joy Rothschild, Marie-Christine Parent, Muriel E. Swijghuisen Reigersberg, Zhang Boyu, Jennifer K. Newsmen, Bernhard Bleibinger, Dave Dargie, Jocelyn Moon and Klisala Harrison; the editor is Klisala Harrison.

The study group holds general assemblies (business meetings) as well, usually on an annual basis. These, together with the symposia, are detailed in annual reports published on this webpage and in the ICTM Bulletin.

Symposium 2022-ICTM Joint Study Group Meeting

Applied Ethnomusicology (AE) and Music and Dance in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAT CAR)

AE - From Sep. 19 to Sep. 24 in Brasil (Pedro II School - Rio de Janeiro)

LAT CAR - From Sep. 26 to Oct.  1st in Chile (Alberto Hurtado University -Santiago)

Applied Ethnomusicology comes to Rio in September 2022!

After 7 gatherings in Europe, Asia and Africa, the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology (AE) is excited to announce its first meeting in the Americas.

Ethnomusicologists with interest in applied work are invited to join our meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from September 19-24, 2022 (with emphasis on AE), followed by a meeting from September 25-Oct 1st in Santiago de Chile (with emphasis on LatCar). Both are organised jointly with the ICTM Study group on Music and Dance in Latin America and the Carribean.

Over a period of twelve days, delegates will be able to get to know and discuss contemporary perspectives and practices in ethnomusicology from Latin America and the Carribean -with emphasis black and indigenous cultures- as well as applied research from four other continents.

The conferences will be hybrid in format: most presenters will come to Rio; others will participate online. To enable equitable access, no registration fees will be charged, but institutional delegates are invited to make a contribution.

While the full dawn to dusk program is still being finalised, these are some of the highlights of the Rio gathering:

- Opening address by Svanibor Pettan (President ICTM) on “15 Years of Applied Ethnomusicology at ICTM” (Sep 19)

- Keynote Sessions by Musicultura with Samuel Araújo e Mariluci Nascimento (Sep 20) and by Quilombola Sounds featuring Mestre Naldinho - Arnaldo de Lima; Ana Mumbuca; Nego Bispo - Antônio Bispo dos Santos (Sep 22)

- Roundtables on Indigenous knowledge systems, education, ecologies, methodologies, copyright, and developing and finding funding for projects.

In total, there will be over 50 papers and presentations featuring AE and LatCar in Rio, divided over keynotes, roundtables, paper sessions, workshops and concerts featuring indigenous music and knowledge systems, education projects, and working with communities and authorities in myriad ways. Confirmed workshops include Tikuna Music – Djuena Tikuna (Sonora Brasil); Vissungo Group Spirito Santo; and Sonora Brasil SESC (indigenous group Fulni-ô), as well as concerts and informal musical gatherings.

To follow program updates and/or join us live or online in September, check out our Facebook page.



Huib Schippers (Netherlands)


Vice Chairperson
 Zhang Boyu (China)                                                                                                                                                                                                   Email:

 Wei-Ya Lin (Austria)

Executive Member                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Pedro Mendonça (Brasil)                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Executive Member                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Olcay Muslu (Turkey)                                                                                                                                                                                                                


Public - accessible to all site users

2009 - AESTG Report

The second business meeting of the Study Group Applied Ethnomusicology (AESTG) was held 6 July 2009 as a part of the 40th ICTM World Conference in Durban, South Africa. It was hosted by Svanibor Pettan, chair, Klisala Harrison, vice-chair, and Eric Martin Usner, secretary, and was attended by more than forty ICTM members, who contributed to the spirited and engaging assembly. Pettan began the meeting by presenting a brief history of the study group, from the prenatal events to present, with emphasis on the official recognition of the study group in Vienna in 2007.

2008 - 1st Biannual Meeting Report: Historical and Emerging Approaches To Applied Ethnomusicology

The first meeting of the ICTM Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology was held at the Slovene Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana, Slovenia 9.-13. July 2008. The meeting was hosted by Svanibor Pettan, on behalf of the Slovene National Committee of the ICTM, Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana, and four other institutions and associations. Over four days, forty people representing sixteen countries from all continents shared their experiences and perspectives on applied ethnomusicology in a variety of contexts.

2008 - First Meeting, Slovenia

Historical and Emerging Approaches to Applied Ethnomusicology

ICTM Study Group for Applied Ethnomusicology
First Meeting
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 9-13 July 2008

Preliminary Program 


Arrival in Ljubljana

18:00 Registration (Slovene Ethnographic Museum, Ljubljana, Metelkova 2)
19:00 Reception with music


9:00 Introductory greetings 

9:30-10:45 Keynote address
Anthony Seeger (USA)

Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 Session 1-1